D&R Canal: Alexander Road to Brearley House

D & R Canal State Park, Alexander Road to Brearley House (7/4/2013)

Just over three months ago, we walked the 4 mile stretch (twice) between Kingston Lock and Alexander Road. Today, Independence Day, in our pursuit of section-walking the entire D & R Canal, we returned to continue south from Alexander Road with the intent of making it to Route 1 before returning. But when we got to about a quarter of a mile of Route 1, we were surprised to see a trail heading west called the "Brearley-Great Meadow Trail. It had a nice prominent sign and looked promising, so we took that, believing that perhaps it formed a loop with the D & R and would come out near Route 1. But it went directly west to the Brearley House (dating from 1761, and now the headquarters of the Lawrence Historical Society). Continuing a bit west from there, we realized that the trail was not going to get to the D & R at Route 1 so we backtracked along the Brearley-Great Meadow Trail to the canal (adding an additional 3/4 of a mile). Hot (it was in the 90s) and humid (my camera lens kept fogging up) we decided not to head to Route 1 (which would have added at least another half mile) so we headed back to Alexander Road.

This section, though mostly bereft of interesting historical canal buildings (though there is one) and locks, is perhaps the most tranquil of all of the segments, without any parallel roads for nearly its entire length (only at Quaker Bridge Road is there noise). The turtles were out in force today! And though I had no idea it would be, today's July 4th walk actually had historical interest! Along the way we passed an obelisk marking Washington's march from Trenton to Princeton in 1777, during the Revolutionary War and (as already mentioned) there was the Brearsley House dating back from colonial times (1761).

With today's segment we have walked nearly 30 contiguous miles (twice) of the still remaining main canal from Landing Lane in New Brunswick to near Route 1. An examination of Bing Maps reveals that the last four miles of the main canal mostly parallels Route 1 after crossing under the NJ Turnpike and other super highways, before unceremoniously ending near a Salvation Army building on Mulberry Street in Trenton. Because of this, I'm not sure I will return to do the rest.

Total distance covered was just shy of 9 miles in just under 3.5 hours.

(Click on the thumbnail to bring up a bigger image in a pop-up window)

Parked at Turning Basin Park

At the start

Heading south

[Photo by Laura]

Boat launch at Turning Basin

Alexander Road bridge


Egret in flight

Preening bird

Robin red-breast


15 Miles to Bordentown

Young duck

Towpath flowers

Turtle on lichen-covered log

Three's a crowd!

One swimming away


Golf course bridge

View south ...

... from bridge

Princeton Country Club

Club across canal

View south from ...

... another golf course bridge



Obelisk marking ...

... Washington's March (1777)

Bridge at ...

... Quaker Bridge Road

Crossing ...

... under ...

... Province Line Road

View south

Another mile marker

Tranquil path here ...

... even with bicycles

Path along the hill

Canal wildflowers

View from above

Brearley-Great Meadow Trail

Swamp observation deck

View from deck

Brearley trail


Brearley House

Front of Brearley house

Continuing west

Turtle stretching & sunning in canal

Baby riding piggy-back


Young deer across

Turtles camouflaged

Green on his nose

Nine turtles on one log!

Bridge at Province Line Road

Heading north

Two bridges in view

31 miles to New Brunswick

Under Province Line Road

Quaker Bridge Road & Canal house

View north from Quaker Bridge

Canal House from 1830

Pigeon on roof

View north to Province Line Road

Path parallels Quaker Bridge Road

Gaggle of Canada Geese

Picking raspberries

More crowding

Snail on leaf



Boat Launch at Turning Basin

Ramp back to Turning Basin park

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